Thursday, May 19, 2011
Happiness is what we all (everyone) seek, whether Christians or non-Christians. Atheists as much as religious people also seek happiness. The old civilizations as much as the modern ones were preoccupied with that same goal: happiness. Happiness is found in nature. Climb a mountain and sit on top of it - Once you look at the stars shining in the night, you will feel happiness, a humbling feeling that there are things which we cannot reach, yet they are beautiful, awesome and rewarding. Or go by the sea, and spend some time at the shore - You will discover a great mystery when you notice that the horizon seems unending...Look further into the life on Earth. There are so many living organisms everywhere that feed and grow on others. Life cannot stop because of you or me, for the Creator wills life and happiness to every being. The highest level of happiness on Earth is achieved in the human person. There, the hormones in the brain work out to induce love toward others. It is part of God's mystery that you and I can think - the creation and development of life is nothing less than a miracle. The question is: What is the good way of enjoying happiness and living a joyful life? That is a question that we shall attempt to answer, because not every kind of pleasure leads to happiness. The Master said "What benefits man if he gains the entire world but loses himself". Although every natural desire in my heart is implanted by God, and so must be good, the excessive use of it would lead me to slavery. When I am too attached to money, greed will be my master; when I am too attached to sexual desires, I will become a slave of the flesh; and when I am too attached to myself, I will lose myself into the abyss of pride! I like St. Augustine's words "Be moderate in everything except in love." Happiness in its fullness is more than natural things and deeper than desires. It comes from God who wills us to be happy eternally. In his grace, we are transformed to love everyone including our enemies. The mystery of the incarnation of God points us to contemplate his love for us regardless of our own merits. It is because he loved us that he died the worst death as a real man. Christ only loves and his love brings us eternal happiness!
Sunday, May 15, 2011
May 13, 1917 is the day that the Catholic Church celebrates for the apparition of the Virgin Mary to 3 children in Fatima, Portugal. In her apparition, Mary warned that the then current world war (World War I) would finish but another greater world war would emerge in the pontificate of the pope who follows the next unless people repent. She also said that Russia will succumb to the evil forces of atheist Communism that will attempt to submit many nations to Communism but that with dedication of Russia to her heart by the Roman Pontiff, Russia will eventually come back to her heart. The two prophecies or "secrets" took place as predicted and many people perished in World War II. Mary also foresaw a great tribulation in the Catholic Church in her "Third Secret" that the pope will be assassinated and many Christians will be martyred when Rome itself will be desolate. The Third Secret, feared by many Catholics, has been interpreted in the assassination attempt against the life of now Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1981. Penance has been the call of the Virgin Mary since she appeared, but how many of us truly responded to her call! As bishop Fulton Sheen indicated in his book "The First World Love", published in 1952 by McGraw-Hill Book Company, the fact that Mary was sent to Portugal is relevant. Fatima is the name of a Muslim woman venerated in Islam as the daughter of their Prophet Mohammed. In the Qura'n, Mary is considered the most pure creature of humans and next to her is Fatima according to a variant of Hadith. Muslims occupied Portugal for centuries before they were driven out by Catholics. A story about Fatima appears in Fulton Sheen's book: While Muslims were driven out from Portugal, a Catholic young man had fallen in love with a Muslim called Fatima in a little town. She became Catholic to get married to him and out of appreciation, the name of the town was changed to Fatima. While Muslims consider Christians to be infidel, Mary is the one common person who is exalted by Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Muslims as the most pure woman. Bishop Sheen believed she will play a significant role in the dialogue of Christians and Muslims and in the end Muslims will come to worship her Son Jesus. On a personal note, I believe that my heart attack on May 12 1986 was treated and my heart survived until now through the intercession and prayer of this lady that the Church venerates for her tender love. She is a mother of all people. Many Christians and Muslims venerate her. She prays for all...